Working from remote locations is not a new concept. Although the idea of remote digital meetings has been around for years, the latest developments in software have made it possible for dozens of people from different remote locations to attend the same meeting with a single internet connection. It started in the 1970s when digital communication started reaching the average consumer and later in the early 80s when many corporations hired work-from-home customer service agents. This trend started to grow in the 90s when The U.S. Govt. supported telework, and by the 2000s, with the invention of Skype and such video conferencing tools, the trend skyrocketed.
Today, video conferencing is one of the most crucial tools available to remote workers and shows no signs of slowing down. Most of us will eventually take part in such meetings. The following guidelines will prove to be very valuable to those who need to conduct business through video conferencing. We will give you some rules and tips that will help your team communicate better and hence be more productive via video conferencing.
The company’s culture should be reflected in the style and conduct of the digital meeting. For example, digital meetings that traditional office employees hold tend to be a bit formal, while the meetings of small startups are not as formal when it comes to dressing codes and background. They might even be calling from a beach or cafe.
15 Rules for Better Video Conferencing
Be Familiar with your platform
Regardless of which conferencing platform you use, you should be capable of understanding how the software works before the actual meeting. You should give it a trial run beforehand and be informed on how management wants these sessions to be conducted. It will be in everyone’s best interest if management outlines a guide for the best practices during the session, so everyone has some type of reference point.
Planning a meeting should be a team effort where everyone involved is respectful of the other attendee’s time schedule. The first step in planning such meetings is making sure that all involved are available at that particular date and time. There are tools available that can help in setting up the meetings by taking polls so everyone can indicate what time works best for them. Many other tools are available to ensure everyone will be at the meeting on time. Most platforms can send meeting links to all participants and even automatically add them to their calendars.
Set Meetings at Regular Intervals
It would be best if you tried to have recurring meetings to avoid continual planning and organizing. A daily, weekly, or monthly meeting should be scheduled at the same time every time to discuss recurring topics such as project updates, performance reviews, etc. Also, everyone will be better prepared on what they want to discuss, and fewer emergency meetings will need to be called.
Assign Meeting Roles
Every meeting should have an assigned notetaker and minute taker. The notetaker will record the meeting’s keynotes and distribute them to all the participants for their records to avoid misunderstanding. The minute keeper manages the time flow by informing speakers on how much time they have allotted. These roles can be rotating; it does not need to be the individuals every time.
Have a Set Agenda
The organizers of the meetings should indicate what issues will be addressed. This gives the attendees time to work on the issues before the meeting, so no time is wasted trying to think on the spot. This way, the meetings will be more productive and less time-consuming. Also, a specific agenda should be set for each session, and the discussion time for each problem should have a time limit.
The best-case scenario for every meeting is that all problems will be solved completely, but you know that is not always possible. Therefore, in addition to knowing the time allotment needed for solving each problem, you need to be aware of what is the degree they should be solved during the meeting. If your goal is just a simple update, then all you need to do is an update. However, if there’s a crisis with the deadline, you will need to set up specific action goals that individuals or teams will complete.
Use the Right Form
There are different formats performed through digital conferencing. It could be a briefing with Q&As at the end, it could be a presentation, or it could be a full conference. Determining the best format for a digital conference should be based on the necessity of having everyone actively involved. Allowing participants to mute themselves when they are not programmed to speak makes for better conferencing.
Whether or not the Moderator is the person who organized the meeting, they are the ones who are responsible for muting and unmuting, keeping conversations on track, settling disagreements, and performing other acts to keep the meeting flowing smoothly. This not only streamlines the meeting, but gives the participants a clear person to direct their inquiries to. The Moderator should answer questions on the chat so no information is missed even when someone else is speaking to keep things moving for a more productive meeting.
Have Set Rules
A general agenda should be announced before the meeting to set the rules for the progression of the meeting. For example, all participants should be informed about how the meeting will progress, what will be covered, how questions will be handled, and when the breaks will take place. This will prevent one person from dominating the meeting and avoid talking over one another.
Using illustrations and presentations during a video conference will make the meetings so much more enjoyable. Also, to prevent participants from tuning out, it is recommended that speakers just don’t read the information that is written on the slides.
The pace should be lively enough to keep everyone focused but not too fast that important information is missed. A set agenda, a timekeeper, and a moderator are what a meeting needs to keep on pace. Some software offers a hand-raising function to notify when they’ve missed something or when they need something repeated.
Send Meeting Agenda Ahead of Time
If new information is to be discussed at a scheduled meeting, the participants should be notified at least a day before the conference because the meetings just don’t have enough time alloted for everyone to process the new information.
Share Contract Information
It is a good idea to share contact information for follow-up questions and further communications. This is especially true for the speaker and other prominent team members who can give information to those who need it. Keeping a list of all participants is also a good way of keeping a record of attendance to see everyone is doing their job.
The best way to ensure actions will be taken to solve problems, tasks should be assigned out as soon as they are decided on. If anyone has a good idea to solve the problem, they should be assigned to follow up their idea. This will motivate people to think of solutions and be more invested in making sure their ideas are implemented successfully.
Summarize before Ending Meeting
Summarizing all actions and decisions taken during the meeting will make sure everything is carried out as planned and ensure there will be no need for repeating parts of the meeting. These summary notes should be included in the minutes that the notetaker will send out. The summary notes also aid people in keeping track of their responsibilities.
Video Conferencing Etiquette
Keep workspaces clean.
Tidy workspaces are more aesthetically pleasing and will remove distractions from the meetings, which might draw people’s attention.
Dress in a professional manner.
As a general rule, one should dress as they would in the office to keep things feeling business-oriented. It also helps psychologically to keep the work-life balance.
Take turns speaking
One of the biggest problems with video conferencing is that everyone wants to speak at once, or someone tries to speak over someone else. This lack of clarity tends to frustrate the participants. Also, because of the time delays caused by internet connections, make sure the speaker is finished before jumping in.
As far as we can see, video conferencing is here to stay, so it is important we use this tool correctly for the best results. Hopefully, the right etiquette and these rules will help your team have more effective teleconferencing. If the right strategies are implemented, digital meetings can be even more prosperous than their traditional counterparts.